Sharp will introduce a 70in 8K TV monitor by the end of April. The early launch is the opening salvo in what is expected to be a gradual introduction of 7,680 x 4,320 pixel TVs at the premium end of the TV market.

The LV-70X500E, which will be available globally and priced at a mere €12,000, was unveiled at the IFA 2018 Global Press Conference in Rome.

Sascha Lange, Sharp Vice President for Marketing and Sales, believes 8K will create a new super-screen TV sector of 70-inch and larger models, even arguing that consumers now have the room to accomodate screens up to 128in. 'There’s a clear desire for ever larger screens,' he says. 'We’ve seen that with the growth of 55- and 65in 4K models. We believe that 8K will be a major trend at this year’s IFA show in Berlin.'

The panel, which comes without a DVB tuner or HEVC decoder, can upscale 4K or lower sources, and present native resolution still images played from USB. In Japan, set-top boxes will provide native 8K content from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Speaking at the IFA showcase, Bernard Fontaine, Head of Technical Innovations at France TV, said the broadcaster would undertake 8K trials at The French Open in May. The footage will not be broadcast, but will be viewable in the Roland Garros media centre.

The LV-70X500E uses a FALD backlight with local dimming control over 216 areas. It has eight HDMIs, with four dedicated to delivering a native 8K signal. Alternatively, the set can deliver four independent 4K feeds. 

Toshiyuki Fujine, Division Manager at Sharp’s Sakai LCD panel plant, told HCC that the screen was originally envisaged as a business-to-businees product, serving corporate, security and medical needs, but now will also be sold into the consumer space for early adopters. 'Second-generation 8K displays will offers a single HDMI 2.1 input,' he says, 'but that is not currently available to manufacturers.'

HCC has had a close look at this mouth-watering screen, and was left salivating. The LV-70X500E has a pixel density of 125 ppi; up close, this means no visible pixel structure. The colour vibrance from this wide colour panel is high. Naturally, the set is HDR10 and HLG compatible, but there is no Dolby Vision or HDR10+ support. Peak brightness is quoted at 1,000 nits. 'When we designed this display there was no 8K-ready Dolby Vision chipset available,' explained Fujine. Sharp doesn't rule out adding dynamic metadata compatibility on future generations.